Gardens event hidden forever

THE hidden gardens of Gristhorpe will remain hidden this summer as the latest casualty of red tape.

The annual open gardens event has raised about 125,000 for St Catherine’s Hospice in its 25-year history.

Organiser Ian Westmore-land said: “A lot of people had perhaps become a little tired of it, and the workload had increased dramatically over the last few years.

“There’s a lot of pressure on things like risk assessment and the council wanted us to apply for a licence. You’ve got to fill in a 10-page form just to have a band play outside and the form needs my National Insurance number and place of birth. It costs 21 and you’ve got to apply for two because it’s on two separate Sundays.”

Mr Westmoreland said there was a lot of pressure on the organisers whose work started in February for the mid-summer event.

“It’s been a difficult decision because the hospice relies on events like this and people are very generous.

“But it’s been so much work, it’s quite a relief not having to do it. I think everyone in the country is sick of all these regulations.

“It is sad in a way, and we were unlucky last year because it absolutely poured down both Sundays. That’s very demoralising when you put a lot of work in.”

He said the event had been well-supported over the years, attracting nearly 2,000 visitors at it peak, although numbers had started to tail off a bit.

Mr Westmoreland and his wife Ruth, who have been involved in the running of the event for about 18 years, hosted a garden party this summer which raised about 1,000 for St Catherine’s Hospice.

There were plant stalls and local choir Village Voices entertained, as well as making a generous donation.